Exclusive Stream: The Earth Below’s Mesmerizing Album ‘Nothing Works Vol 2: Hymns for Useless Gods’
Mumbai-based, Bengaluru-bred drummer and singer-songwriter Deepak Raghu channels everything from Tom Waits to psychedelic rock on his debut full-length
In the works since 2018 and even earlier, alternative artist The Earth Below’s debut full-length album – in all its doomy and gloomy glory – is now streaming two days before its official release on Bengaluru label Unherd.
Drummer and singer-songwriter Deepak Raghu (who’s been behind the kit for stoner/doom band Bevar Sea, sludge band Shepherd and old-school metallers Kryptos, amongst others) is following up his last EP Dreams of a Thousand Stillness (2018). While that one and the previous EPs – Window Lights for Wanderers (2017) and Aleph (2010) – have all shown different ways that Raghu can channel desolation and manic intensity through sparse arrangements, Nothing Works Vol 2 is different. Enlisting guitarist Ramanan Chandramouli (from alt act Blushing Satellite) and bassist-producer Leslie Charles (Thermal and a Quarter), the eight-track album covers a lot of ground.
“While this album maintains the intensity in mood of my previous releases, I think that is enhanced by a denser musical arrangement this time,” Raghu says in a statement. He adds, “The blood runs thick with Black Sabbath, but the heart needs a bit of Roy Orbison and this album covers more musical and lyrical landscapes than my earlier EPs.”
In a previous interview from when Raghu was recording the album, he mentioned that the sound was being informed by everyone from Led Zeppelin to Jesus Lizard. “The last couple of things I’d done were limited in their scope – I was more focused on the acoustic guitar and voice. I wanted to create more arrangements that’s more suited for live performance. It’s another thing I want to do – have a band and play shows.”
While live shows are a bit distant now, Nothing Works Vol 2: Hymns for Useless Gods is certainly an imposing record. It moves from skeletal guitar rock (“Brave Noise”) to pendulous, poignant moments (“Crimson Gold”) and then suddenly dropping the listener into wafting blues (“Come To Me”). Keeping his stoner rock influences shining are riff-driven songs like “Abydos,” “Rhythm of Pain” and “Perpetual Prayer” while “Ceremony of Ash” and the bittersweet “Strangers At Sea” changes the mood up once again, evoking a sparser yet elegant sound. Listen below.
‘Nothing Works Vol 2: Hymns for Useless Gods’ releases on April 10th via Unherd. Pre-order the album and CD here. Artwork by Gayatri Hariharan